The Washington Capitals signed free agent center Dylan Strome on Thursday to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
“Every playoff loss hurts. It hurts you deep inside. It stays with you,” Capitals veteran Lars Eller said. “We just haven’t gotten it done the last four years. I don’t know what to say other than I am still hungry. I think the hunger is still in the room.”
The Capitals are hoping they can redirect the ship coming off four straight seasons of first-round exits. But big question marks still remain.
The Washington Capitals were far from the only NHL team that pounced on its targets to open free agency this week. But the fact that other teams were quick to put pen to paper with free agents made the Capitals’ urgency even more important.
A hectic start to the NHL’s free-agency period Wednesday closed with the Columbus Blue Jackets landing the highest-profile player: “Johnny Hockey.”
With several injuries at the forward position heading into the season, the Capitals bolstered the group on Wednesday by trading for winger Connor Brown and re-signing Marcus Johansson.
After getting rid of both Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov within the last week, the Capitals wasted no time once free agency began Wednesday. Washington signed former Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper to be the starting goaltender and ex-Blues netminder Charlie Lindgren. Kuemper as a backup.
Johnny Gaudreau, Evgeni Malkin, Nazem Kadri, Darcy Kuemper and John Klingberg headline one of the deepest groups of free agents in recent history. Even though the salary cap is only going up $1 million per team, record revenues have made for the first increase since 2019, setting the stage for significant money to flow when the market opens Wednesday.
The Washington Capitals on Monday elected not to issue a qualifying offer to goaltender Ilya Samsonov — a surprise move that leaves the team in dire need of a netminder heading into free agency.